Undergraduate Blog / Defining Your Babson

Why No Exercise Should be Considered too Simple

As strength coach it is commonplace to have an exercise database arranged in a series of progressions and regression. Progression are used when an exercise is too easy for an athlete while regressions can be pulled out when they need something more simple.  Sometimes these basic regression are the bare minimum of a movement patter. For example, a heels elevated plate reach squat will most likely get the person you are working with into a good squat position and as a coach you would expect everybody to be able to perform this exercise with proficiency in the first few attempts.

Prior to a few days ago I think I held a lot of exercises in this same light, my assumption was that most people should be able to do these exercises without significant coaching on my part. For example, warm up exercises like skips, bounds, hops, jumps, and body-weight exercises like planks and bridges would fall under this assumption. However, a few days ago there was a group of high school soccer players who had single leg hip thrusts off a bench in their program. I thought this was a simple exercise so after a quick demo I was not expecting to make many corrections. I couldn’t have been more wrong as nearly half of the group could not figure out how to accomplish the exercise. To make matters worse, because I had assumed they wouldn’t need my coaching I was not prepared with well thought out cues in order to fix their mistakes. While after a few minutes I was able to correct most of the weird positions I saw, the situation had caught my attention.

The main takeaway was to always expect people will do things incorrectly the first time they are performing a new exercise. This doesn’t mean you can’t let them make a few attempts on their own before you intervene but it will prevent you from being caught off guard by what you though was a simple exercise.